Thursday, September 27, 2012

Butts in Seats?

Recently I had a conversation with someone about audiences and how we so frequently refer to them as “butts in seats,” and today I read this and it got me to thinking about how much time we put into thinking about our audiences after we have sold them the ticket. We would do almost anything to get them in the door, but once they’re there? Sure, we put on an awesome show but how many of us really think about the comfort, care and feeding (if you look at the comments, it’s kind of hilarious how many people talk about ice cream…I guess ice cream at the theatre is a thing in England) and genuine comfort of our audiences. If you get You’ve Cott Mail – you saw that today’s issue was about pre-show vs. post-show events – get them excited to see the show or let them talk about it afterward. I think I would argue that it’s both. We should be enveloping our audiences in the experience of going to the theatre, it is how we distinguish ourselves.

So, I can stay home and get virtually any entertainment in the world now available delivered to me on demand – I can eat and talk and smoke and wear my sweatpants while I look at it. OR, I can go to the theatre and have a singular, un-repeatable experience that includes communion with my friends and neighbors, making new friends, maybe learning something, maybe changing my life. I know which one we’d all choose, but we have to provide that experience to our patrons, we have to care about them, not just as butts in seats but as honored guests. I think we should treat every patron like they are our biggest donors. Every night should be an exercise in how much can we do for you?


1 comment:

Unknown said...

As long as we refer to them as "butts in seats"--even if we say we would only give ourselves permission as a shorthand to make a point--we diminish the relationship to a transaction. If we want to have a relationship with our audience beyond their ability to show up and warm a house, we have to eliminate this phrase from our lexicon.